L'Homme de Sa Vie Zabou Breitman

Frédéric (Bernard Campan), a chemist, lives with his wife Frédérique (Lea Drucker), their son and large family in the French countryside. Their new neighbour, Hugo (Charles Berling), sharing Frédéric’s passion for jogging, is invited to dinner. During the course of the evening, Hugo announces that he is gay, saying of his job as a graphic designer that gays can be all kinds of things, even chemists. Frédéric and Hugo begin to form a friendship that gradually turns to suggestions of romance, driving Frédérique batty. Actress turned director Zabou Breitman channels that notorious French nostalgia and whimsy into a narrative unsuited to it. A needless character littered montage appears early, almost announcing in its sweetly hued compositions a tribute or attack on Jeunet’s Amelie and the like. A later encounter, with Frédéric and Hugo analysing the eyes of a tango-locked boy and girl, leaves Frédéric’s romantic idealism grasping at straws in the face of Hugo’s nihilism. If you are raging along in full agreement with the messages behind the film, L’Homme De Sa Vie is serviceably rendered with excellent performances from Campan and Berling. If you are interested in its messages as matters for debate, be aware that this is a film that does not ask hard questions about sexual orientation, bisexual romance, regional attitudes towards sexuality, or even its focus of family dynamics. Think of it as a less engaging, melodramatic In & Out. (Christal)